Adrian Colyer: Why dm Server Is Moving To Eclipse

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As JAXenter reported last week, SpringSource have submitted a proposal for dm Server to move to Eclipse.org. The follow-on from the recently released dm Server 2.0 will be developed under the Eclipse Runtime Project. JAXenter caught up with the Chief Technology Officer for SpringSource, Adrian Colyer, to ask him about the project.

JAXenter: The SpringSource dm Server
will continue as the Eclipse project “Virgo” – What are the reasons
behind the migration to Eclipse?

Adrian Colyer: There is a
great deal of interest and innovation around enterprise OSGi and
the dm Server.  This interest is strongest amongst early
adopters, and projects with requirements that match closely the
dynamically modular nature of the OSGi Service Platform. For a
mainstream development team though, who just want to build an
enterprise application as quickly as possible, and with as little
hassle as possible, the costs currently associated with adopting
enterprise OSGi can outweigh the short-term benefits. This
situation needs to be addressed before enterprise OSGi can become
the de-facto approach for mainstream enterprise application
development.

The dm Server builds on, and tightly integrates with, Eclipse
Equinox – the reference implementation of the OSGi Service
Platform. In addition, the recently proposed Gemini project at
Eclipse.org will host reference implementations of many of the key
enterprise OSGi specifications supported by Virgo – including the
SpringSource led Gemini Web Container and Gemini Blueprint Service
projects. The dm Server development tools are also all
Eclipse-based. As an Eclipse RT project, Virgo will benefit from
close collaboration with the OSGi community at Eclipse.org, the
ability for multiple parties to contribute to it’s ongoing
development, and feedback from the Eclipse user base to help shape
future direction. This community involvement and collaboration is
the fastest way to help make the transition into the mainstream for
enterprise application development on OSGi.

JAXenter: What does the migration mean for the
development process of the dm Server (i.e. Virgo)? Is SpringSource
abandoning the project ?

Adrian Colyer: Beyond the
2.0 release which we just put out, ongoing development of the dm
Server will happen as part of the Virgo project at Eclipse.org. The
full set of SpringSource developers currently working on the dm
Server will become committers at Eclipse.org. The aim is to put out
a baseline release from the Virgo project as quickly as possible,
and ultimately to join the Eclipse release train to coordinate
Virgo releases with Equinox and other Eclipse component releases.
We already have indication from other interested parties that they
would like to contribute to Virgo development too, so the project
has a healthy future ahead of it.

JAXenter: What role will virgo play in the context
of the Eclipse Runtime Top Level Project? Are there any deeper
integrations planned with other projects like Equinox, Jetty or the
recently proposed Gemini-project?

Adrian Colyer: Eclipse.org
itself has a stated number one strategic priority to “Establish
Eclipse runtime technology as a leading open source runtime
platform.” and clearly the Virgo project plays an important role in
helping achieve this objective. Regarding the relationship to other
Eclipse projects, this is covered in the proposal
document
. Of particular note is the close integration
with the Gemini project, and the intention to make the Gemini Web
Container and Virgo work with Jetty as well as with
Tomcat.

JAXenter: Will Virgo join the Eclipse Helios
Release Train? What are the next steps for
Virgo?

Adrian Colyer: The Helios
release train is essentially closed already – by the time the Virgo
project has been through initial creation review and uploaded the
initial contents it will be too late to make the 2010 train. The
intention is to align with the release train for 2011 though. We
plan to put out a baseline release from Virgo as soon as possible,
probably followed by a service release on the “2.0” code base. We
will also aim to put out a new release during 2010 off the back of
the Helios train. 

JAXenter: You wrote in your blog,
that
the costs currently
associated with adopting enterprise OSGi can outweigh the
short-term benefits
. How can
Virgo help the adoption of enterprise OSGi?

Adrian Colyer: The move to Eclipse.org can help
drive community involvement in dm Server (Virgo) in two key ways.
Firstly, the license change from GPL to EPL means that many more
organisations and individuals will be comfortable using Virgo,
building on Virgo, and contributing back to Virgo. Secondly,
Eclipse.org is vendor neutral and this will help to alleviate any
concerns over Virgo being too strongly controlled by SpringSource.
The broader community involvement will in turn help steer the
project to better address mainstream requirements.

JAXenter: Thank your very much!

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